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Oct 15, 2011 07:28 PM

Frozen Turkey to Ireland?(Really a kosher travel question)

My mom is going to visit my sister in Ireland for Thanksgiving.

Both of them estimate it will cost about $75 (USD) for a moderate sized turkey, she can obviously get it here much cheaper.

Can she bring a frozen turkey as checked luggage? Are there international travel issues.
What about customs?

It's about the same length flight as NY to LA...will the turkey stay frozen?

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  1. I have flown to Israel with an entire suitcase (60lbs+) of frozen beef, many times. Assuming that your turkey has been frozen for some time and is wrapped well (recommend putting the bird in a garbage bag in case of minor leakage or condensation). At 24 hrs your bird will still be safely below 40degrees and ready to rock. I feel like I've always lucked out with customs although I have seen any number of hard salamis or sausages taken from fellow flyers over the years. G'Luck!

    4 Replies
    1. re: gotcholent

      @ gotcholent--
      I don't think there are customs requirements prohibiting meat being brought INTO Israel, but US regulations are much stricter. The customs declaration you sign when you return to the States is pretty specific (though right now I don't recall exactly what is and isn't forbidden).

        1. re: almond tree

          They are not going into Israel, they are going to Ireland.

          1. re: wyogal

            Yes, I got that, and I was replying to queenscook, not the OP.

    2. I think the issue here is more customs requirements than food safety. It's prohibited to bring meat or meat products from outside the EU into it, including into Ireland. You may or may not get caught doing it, but I wouldn't want to gamble an important family celebration on it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: GilaB

        I think most countries have rules around meat - raw or cooked, as well as animal products. That being said, I have regularly traveled with meat between the US and Canada both ways, although generally by car.
        I believe the US customs form specifically asks if you are bringing in any animal products, and it has been that way for years. I remember bringing some frozen home cooked Sephardic food more than 20 years ago, that I knew my wife could not make. Foolishly, I declared it, and they took it from me and through it out. Will never make that mistake again.

      2. I would spend a few extra bucks and get the turkey there. I would not travel with it. What if there was a delay in the flight? I know people that did that, and it was a mess. Also, if it's against the law, then the few extra bucks spent to buy one there would be less than the fines or the bother of packing it, then getting it confiscated.

        1 Reply
        1. re: wyogal

          They are going to get it in Ireland

        2. I attended an interesting lecture about a year ago from a rabbi/scientist who researches the mesoras (traditions) concerning different and strange kosher animals. One amazing fact is that the kashrut of turkey is NOT accepted worldwide and that turkey is kosher in the US by accident really. It is entirely possible that the Jewish community in Ireland does not eat turkey!!

          4 Replies
          1. re: SoCal Mother

            Part of that, I believe, is due to the fact that turkeys are New World birds, and traditional Jewish communities of Europe were not exposed to them until fairly recently.

            1. re: craigcep

              Right. And the halacha is that we only eat animals for which we have a masora. Evidently the Jews who began eating turkey either mistook it for something else or weren't as careful with that part of the halacha, but by the time someone figured it out, American Jews were eating turkey regularly. That became the mesora, I suppose. Lucky for us!!!

              But a warning to OP that there might just be folks in Ireland who will not eat turkey.

            2. re: SoCal Mother

              SoCal.... I can clear this up... The community is Dublin is not a very observant one over all, most folks drive to the Ortho Shul. I think there are 3 women on the whole island that wear sheitals...the 2 Chabad rebbitzens and my sister.

              There just isn't that much of a demand for it...but to answer the question, Dublin Jews do eat Turkey...especially when the Token American is paying for it.

              1. re: SoCal Mother

                I think you seriously misunderstood the lecture. There is nowhere in the world where the kashrut of turkey is seriously questioned. There are *individuals* who do not eat it, as a personal chumra. (I assume Karaim who don't eat chicken won't eat turkey either, but that's beyond the realm of Jewish kashrut.)